Saving Ideas

This post was originally published on Toy Photographers.


Google image search ‘idea journaling’ and you get beautiful pages full of neat handwriting, perfect sketches, scrapbook paper and washi tape.

I keep an idea journal. Mine is not beautiful.

My journal (or should I say journals, because I constantly start new ones before old ones are full) is messy – scrawled script, scribbled pictures – complete nonsense to the onlooker. However, this process is a way for me to save things that I may not remember later, to brainstorm vague ideas for images and make those ideas fuller, to feel like I’m creating even when I don’t have a camera in my hand.

This process also makes me feel more sane. I’m a planner and a list maker and I think of ideas at inopportune times. So, rather than create right away, I write it down and hope that the little tidbit of an idea still inspires me later.

The featured image of this post is a final product of the bottom sketch in the top left image here.

I truly believe ideas can be found everywhere. 

Whenever you watch a movie, read a book, visit a new place, etc. and see something you love, something that draws you in – whether a place, color, person’s movement – that’s inspiration to you and thus something that influences your work, whether you actively recognize it or not at the time.

My solution? When you feel that passionate twinge, make note of it – whether a note on your phone or a physical piece of paper. Connect those ideas and draw patterns from them. The more you know yourself, the more personal work you create and personal work draws others in. Who knows, maybe your work will become a line in someone else’s idea journal.

Do you keep an idea journal? What do you do when you’re struck with a creative thought at just the wrong time? Let me know in a comment below.

~ Jennifer Nichole Wells

“In large measure becoming an artist consists of learning to accept yourself, which makes your work personal, and in following your own voice, which makes your work distinctive.”

 – Art and Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

6 thoughts on “Saving Ideas

  1. I’ve tried keeping an idea journal but have never been successful for very long. Mostly I just follow the muse when I’m creating and often I don’t know what the final image will be until I get there.

    Liked by 1 person

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